Senate Holds Field Hearing on Overcrowded Housing in Tribal Areas

The Senate recently held its first-ever field hearing in Savoonga, Alaska, on “Overcrowded Housing and the Impacts on American Indian and Alaska Natives.” The hearing, which included witnesses from local health, education, government and housing entities, highlighted the issue of overcrowding in tribal areas, and its impact on the livelihoods of American Indian and Alaskan Natives. The hearing was chaired by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who noted that 27 percent of households in the Bering Strait region were classified as overcrowded or severely overcrowded. In Indian Country, overcrowding is often an expression of homelessness, as families tend to shelter other community members who cannot find affordable housing options. According to estimates, about 16 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native households living in tribal areas experience overcrowded conditions, compared to just 2 percent of all U.S. households. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) includes a number of provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit’s ability to produce affordable rental housing in Native American communities.

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